1. ITV Report

Sir Alex warns against Twitter

Rio Ferdinand. Photo: Picture: Eugene Hoshiko/AP/Press Association Images

By Simon Stone

Sir Alex Ferguson has once again reminded Manchester United's players to beware how they use Twitter.

Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand was yesterday fined £45,000 by an Independent Regulatory Commission after an improper conduct charge tabled against him following a posting on the popular social media site was proven.

In responding to a comment from one of his followers that Ashley Cole was a 'choc-ice' and admitting that he believed the term to be derogatory towards someone of black or mixed race person, Ferdinand was found to have breached FA Rule E3.

It is the latest - and one of the most high-profile and contentious disciplinary cases involving Twitter.

Ferguson has stated on more than one occasion his complete bewilderment at the Twitter phenomenon.

And he wants to avoid such problems in the future.

"Twitter; I do not understand it," he said.

"I don't know why anybody can be bothered with it.

"But it is there and as a club we have given instructions to the players that they cannot talk about Manchester United.

"Rio is mature but he still has to remember that one word can make a difference - and you can't take it back."

Ferguson was speaking at the unveiling of new signing Robin van Persie, who has in excess of 2.1million followers, and said he felt the FA, following a recent warning by chairman David Bernstein, were out to make their mark.

"It was almost certain to happen," he said.

"They (the FA) want to close the door on this kind of thing.

"What surprises me is that other players have been twittering for ages and have never been challenged by the FA.

"His status in the game has caused that and who he plays for is maybe another issue."

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